1. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    weird question on grammar

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by heyharris1, Sep 28, 2007.

    Ok here's my problem (im not sure if im in the right spot). Ok i have a really bad time with grammer, If you read my introduction on new people you would understnd. anyway's, To avoid this problem at the beging of my novel, i clearly talk about How "Bill" the name of the father dropped out of school in the 7th grade to help support his family cause they were extremely poor. he wants to make sure his son, who is now 8, gets a good education in the city. cause they live way out of the city on a farm."anyways my grammer question is. is this a good idea to used word's like "aint" ,"ya" "geewiz", Oki doki". words that my day would tell me,"dont use those words" when i was growing up.cause i find that when im writing the dialog for them, there the 2 main characters, that comes out alot in my writing.
    ty all
    jim
     
  2. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    It really depends on what kind of vocabulary you want your characters to speak in really. All characters in every book I have ever read have a different vocabulary, which makes them each individual from the next.
    It comes to personal choice I suppose. I mean some people are not interested in stories that have that kind of speech in it others don't mind I guess. It really comes down to the writer I feel. I am bad for writing 'ain't' and 'aye' or 'yeah nah aye' and that is the way I speak as well though. In certain situations.
    I guess you will get some better responses to this question over the next day or two anyways, as mine wasn't of much help really. But I have seen that wording used in other published pieces, just not sure where.

    Torana
     
  3. chloe.spencer
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    chloe.spencer Member

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    As long as you don't overuse those words, then they can nicely convey an accent or local slang. Just make a list of what words you want to use slang for (or spell differently to convey different pronunciation), and use proper English for the rest.

    That's my take on it, anyway. =)
     
  4. Weaselword
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    Weaselword Banned

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    I have a friend who's so dyslexic that he can't write prose that's intelligible to his editor. He can't write, he can't spell, and his grammar is atrocious. He actually had to dictate substantial parts of his novel.

    He was published quite recently--his name's Jason Cook and the book is called "There's No Room For Jugglers In My Circus".

    But that's really unusual. Jason sold his book because he's a really interesting man with really interesting things to say, and he's been through a hell of a lot--addiction, violence, the whole nine yards--and he tells the story from personal experience in a simple and very engaging style.

    The point is that there is hope for a writer who struggles with grammar. But it's a faint hope, and your chances improve significantly if you can use it correctly. Putting decent grammar in your story is like washing and shaving and brushing your teeth before you ask a pretty girl for a date.

    You can break grammar rules in dialogue and in certain kinds of first person writing.
     
  5. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    great advice, after im done i let my wife read it. she's really good at grammer.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the problem is that no one who really counts will get to read it, if the ms is full of errors, since agents' and publishers' readers have so many submissions to deal with, that they toss anything that is clearly not publish-ready and potentially marketable... first to go are the mss of writers who don't even bother to send in a polished one [= error-free]...

    so, unless your wife is an experienced writer and a very good editor, just having her look it over won't be enough... if you have serious grammar and other technical skills problems, you'll most likely need to hire an editor to polish it for you...
     
  7. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    do people read it out loud after its done, so they can actually hear it, i was thinking that might help also with my terrible grammer.
     
  8. TheUnasphyxiated
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    TheUnasphyxiated New Member

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    I think it would. I mean, reading it out loud sort of gives you an idea of how it will sound in the heads of readers. You can also find what doesn't sound quite right, or come across a mistake you missed. If you're reading it, it's hard to skip over mistakes.
     
  9. chloe.spencer
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    chloe.spencer Member

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    I read everything out loud, and not only my own work, either. Whenever I review a piece, I read it out loud. Even in public places, lol.
     
  10. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    I've read that one of the greatest novelists was a functional illiterate. I guess if you have a good story to tell, you can hand it over to an editor (for a fee) and have him or her totally re-write it.

    Word choice is definitely a function of your character. Some of mine are high school drop-outs. My only question is what will you do when your high school drop-out father needs to talk to someone on another educational level. He would sound different. Each person, (whether he knows it or not) has a formal style, a daily style, and a "hanging out with the guys" style. If you met the President you would not speak in the same way as you would if you were playing poker with a bunch of friends. Many people speak with a different vocabulary with their crew or friends or their parents, or their employers. Same person, different vocabulary.

    Although it sounds tough, you can always learn grammar. I find the Martha Kellogg system the easiest. You simply memorize ten types of sentences. There are rules, but most people who speak English aloud do not have terrible grammar problems, they just don't know what to call things, and sometimes get muddled with the more obscure rules.
     
  11. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    actually, i've learned so much just reading these forums, its amazing. That is going to be my biggest problem, I already got the novel written, just in my head.Puting it on paper is going to be the difficult thing for me. well see, when i start posting peice's here, maybe i aint as bad as i think i am.
     
  12. dwspig2
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    dwspig2 Member

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    I thought my novel wasn't "that bad" and then I asked for some guidance. I found out it was a lot worse than I even thought it was. It was humbling to say the least, and I took several months to get over the fact that I was just trying to show off. Don't fall into that trap...
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...and keep in mind that the fees for a good editor are not in the pocket change range!... plus, if you have someone 'totally rewrite' your work, then whose work is it, really???
     
  14. Scavenger
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    Scavenger Senior Member

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    I would encourage you to write in different dialects, etc, for your dialogue. In fact, I would say it's essential. Like Funny Bunny said, people have different speaking styles themselves, and each person also speaks a little differently. Some choose their words carefully and pay attention to things like grammar and fluency while speaking, and others get straight to the main idea with little to no regard for the rules. And, naturally, you find all different levels of these two, as well as others.

    One of the best ways to characterize someone is through dialogue. Dialogue will determine if a character is clever, slow, funny, quick, didactic or pendantic, self-absorbed, heroic, noble, a skilled liar, and pretty much any other character trait you can think of.

    So don't think about it in terms of poor grammar in order to convey a point, but rather as simply another method of developing your characters. Each character should have a somewhat (though not necessarily drastic) difference in how they speak and present themselves.

    That said, if you're worried about grammar, then I think the best thing you can do is to let your wife, or people here for that matter, go over it in depth. It isn't necessary to be a professional editor to understand the rules of grammar, and often getting different edits will present you with several different writing style that you have developed and can choose to continue. Some people will catch some mistakes, others will find new ones.

    Hope this helps some,

    Scavenger
     
  15. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    o'ya alot has helped, what i am finding out though is its a whole lot easier reading than writing.
     
  16. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    Reading and writing take different skills sets.

    This is embarrassing, but all my life I was discouraged from writing because I could not spell. I wrote sugar as SHUGAR and so on... common mistakes. Although I won state-wide poetry competitions I was told by trusted adults not to attempt creative prose or any other sort of writing. I went to Art school and on a lark started to write (also needed it to get my degree in Art History). I was told by English teachers that I was a failure, and that I should re-think my plans.
    I ended up getting a Writing degree. I was called Brilliant. The one class that made the most difference was a "Grammar" class. The book used was "Understanding English Grammar" by Martha Kolln. I still have the book. I trust it absolutely.

    It is based on the Kolln Kellog system in which the student memorises 10 sentance structures. It is very "old fashioned" but works.

    I was only a reader. Learning structure really helped move me from reader to writer. But knowing sentence structure is still not knowing story structure. It has taken me years of study, and it is worth it to be linked to the tradition of the story-teller for me.

    I think you really need to be a fan of what you do. If you were determined to study martial arts, you would not omit necessary parts of your sequential knowledge towards your black belt. In writing terms, being a novelist is a kind of black-belt degree. You would not walk into the marshal arts studio saying you have no interest in learning the exercises that will lead you to be able to do judo or karate. What would be the point?

    A lot of people seem to think that writing is natural-- until they try it. It takes a lot of discipline, knowledge and "art" to craft stories, poems or non-fiction. It is not "Innate," though language use is. You really need to work at it. That's what I learned. In the last 10 years, there is not a day that goes by that I do not work on it, and I am not published (yet) except for magazine articles.
     
  17. Endeavour
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    Endeavour Senior Member

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    I think that's every writer's nightmare. Writing for endless months with confidence and enthusiasm only to finally learn that the novel has no audience to sell to. I often find the culprits in the plot and central ideas of the story. It's like a body made of flesh and bone but with no heart and brain to direct it.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you do use dialects in your dialog, it's imperative to not overdo it, as a little dialect goes a long way and too much or too strange a one will be annoying and turn off readers, instead of holding their interest...
     
  19. heyharris1
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    heyharris1 Senior Member

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    yes, i know its going to take pratice. luckily once i get my mind set to do something im usually good at following through. And luckily i got the great advice from people here.I got some books i am currently studing. one has to do with sentence structure, the other has to do with proper grammer usage. I also have a friend at work who is in the company printshop department. not making novels but manuals on how to put stuff on vehicle's. not the best but he does have a degree in somekind of writing, and is willing to look it over and give advice/help as needed.
    thank you
    jim
     
  20. dwspig2
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    dwspig2 Member

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    I have a friend who tells me "just write. It'll come to you." I think that's the worst advice that I've heard - ever. Slapping something onto the paper isn't as simple as some people would think.
     
  21. trailer trash
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    trailer trash Senior Member

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    Colloquial words and expressions ....

    heyharis1,

    Colloquial words and expressions are appropriate. The most important thing is to maintain the character. Don’t switch back and forth and don’t over due it. Listen to how people talk to get an idea. Go into a restaurant or coffee shop. And just listen to the conversations. I bet you’ll be surprised at what you hear. This is what writing is about. To capture the character’s inner being, whether that be language, body movements and other mannerisms. They are all a part of what makes up the whole of a good character.

    Elmo
     

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